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It is Never Too Early: Getting Your Kids on Track to Entrepreneurship
Published on Sep 10, 2012
Read 'It is Never Too Early: Getting Your Kids on Track to Entrepreneurship' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
By Matthew Toren
So, the more you study the working world, the more you realize that running your own business has rewards that make all the challenges worthwhile. And you find that you love your life and the freedom and joy of being your own boss. Of course, you want your children to experience the same thing. Here’s the good news: children with one or more parent who work for themselves are much more likely to start their own business as adults. This means that you’re already on your way to influencing their entrepreneurial potential. Here are some other suggestions for encouraging that entrepreneurial spirit.
Talk about it
Think of your dinner table as an informal meeting of your family board of directors. Tell stories about the good experiences and discuss the challenges. Ask for input and ideas. In the first place your children have a different way of looking at the world and they may give you some good suggestions. Second, including them in the process makes them feel more connected to you, which is particularly important if a lot of your time is tied up in your work. Third, you are getting them thinking like an entrepreneur, which will give them a leg up in the future and help them understand the positive and challenging sides of your choice. Be sure to make this fun for everyone.
Involve them in your work
Do you need help collating marketing materials or filing? What other work could they help you with during evening or weekend hours? Including them in the process of growing your business allows them to feel a part of it. Do you plan to have your business turn into a legacy for them when they grow up? Talk about that and start introducing them to the excitement of running a business now. Get their hands dirty so that they can share your dreams from the ground up.
Encourage them to start their own business
Even young children can find ways to earn money working for themselves. Take a look at our book Kidpreneurs for some ideas on encouraging entrepreneurship at an early age. From dog-walking to running errands in the neighborhood to selling other products and services, children can develop entrepreneurial thinking early in life. My brother and I are a good example of that. We got hooked on working for ourselves when we were in grade school and we still love it.
Give them the skills
What do you need to know to be a good entrepreneur? Figure out ways to give your children some of those skills. Selling? Use school fundraisers to train your child in basic sales techniques such as planning your presentation and talking about benefits rather than features. How about budgeting? Get them involved in the family budget and show them the budget you develop for your business. Help them set up their own budget to realize a dream they may have such as buying a bike or going to an amusement park.
Talk about the future
What do they want to do when they grow up? Help them consider the education and experience that will help them on their way. Even if their current goals involve working for someone else, thinking like an entrepreneur can help them be more successful. And if their grown-up dreams involve starting a business, let them know you’ll be there with support and encouragement whenever they’re ready.
Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of the award winning books, Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right. Their latest project is a free classified ads network called: iSell.com.